Have you always dreamed about having the perfect email signature?

Okay, I’m being dramatic. The truth is, email signatures aren’t that sexy. And realistically, they’re not that big of a deal—I’ve never heard of someone losing a job or doubling their income because of a change in their email signature.

But email signatures are still important.

If you’re introducing yourself to someone new, they could be responsible for forming their first impression of you—and your business.

If you don’t include the right information, your recipient may feel that you’re unreachable, and your communication may suffer.

If your email signature is unprofessional, it could hurt your job chances, or be the breaking point for someone on the verge of finalizing a deal.

An email signature isn’t going to change your life—but it could make an impact.

And considering it just takes a few minutes to rewrite and update your email signature, it’s worth the effort.

Let’s take a look at some email signature ideas and templates that can help you improve your email sign offs. Then, we’ll cover how to change your email signature in Gmail. Then, maybe ice cream?

The 4 Elements of a Perfect Email Signature

Email signatures are designed to close out your email.

They’re kind of like letterhead, designed to promote your brand and frame your content. And they’re kind of like footnotes, where you can list more information.

They’re also just a way to close out your message.

So what makes an email signature “perfect?”

Let’s start with the ingredients you must have, no matter what:

1. The basic information.

If you’re emailing someone you know, they probably have all the information they need on you. But you can still save them the step of looking it up. And if you’re emailing someone new, it’s important to introduce yourself properly.

All email signatures should include a few basic pieces of information. Your signature should have:

  • your full name
  • job title
  • the name of your company
  • company website (if applicable)
  • some contact options other than email

2. Conciseness.

In the world of email, shorter is usually better. People don’t want to waste time reading unnecessary emails—and they shouldn’t have to spend minutes reviewing your email signature to find the piece of contact information they need.

On top of that, overly long or detailed email signatures come off as obnoxious or unsightly. Try to keep your email signature confined to a few lines, and use relatively small text so it doesn’t take up as much room.

3. Professionalism.

For the most part, your email signature should look as professional as possible. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people try to get cheeky in their email signature.

Avoid over-the-top flourishes, tacky jokes, and other items that are questionable in tone. It’s also important to ensure there are no mistakes in your email signature—or else, it’s going to solve problems. There are some exceptions to the “professionalism” rule, but we’ll get into those later.

4. Originality.

It’s tempting to simply copy someone else’s email signature, especially when they’re so simple in structure. But if you want to stand out, you should do something original. If your company has a standard template for employees to use, you might not have a choice. But if you’re designing an email signature from scratch, experiment with your placement, fonts, ordering, and other variables so that your signature appears unique.

Optional Elements for Your Email Signature

The next set of items are optional. Not everyone will need to use them. In fact, there’s a chance you could use these items and have them work against you.

So yeah, consider these elements for inclusion—with caution. I’ve included some of these elements in our email signature templates and examples below.

1. Social channels.

It’s often a good idea to include links to your social media profiles, especially if you spend a lot of time posting content and engaging with your audience there. This is an indispensable tool for social sellers. However, there are a few important caveats.

First, make sure your social channels aren’t taking up too much space, overshadowing other forms of contact information or making your email signature bloated and ugly. To this end, it’s valuable to use social buttons rather than full-scale links.

Second, make sure you think through the inclusion of these channels. If you’re in the habit of making controversial posts on Twitter, maybe leave that channel off of your signature. Again, professionalism is the standard.

2. Recent content.

Some people (i.e., content marketers) like to include a tease of their latest content, or a link to it. This is valuable, so long as it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of your email signature.

If you choose to do this, keep your listing concise. Post only the headline, or a short tease about what a reader will learn in this piece. If you decide to do this, make sure you swap in new pieces of content regularly. You don’t want to be caught with a link to a piece of content about how MySpace is going to revolutionize the marketing world.

3. A call to action (CTA).

Salespeople sometimes include a call to action (CTA) embedded in their email signature. It usually promises some benefit to recipients, encouraging them to click a link to “learn more” or “get started.”

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I find it tacky. You’re probably already making a pitch in the body of your email, so the CTA in the signature seems redundant. It also takes up space and makes you seem more overtly “salesy.” But on the other hand, I’ve heard of people getting clicks from this inclusion, so it might be at least worth testing.

These items are highly questionable, and aren’t going to fit into most email signatures. However, there may be an angle by which you can include them. It all depends on context.

4. Your email address.

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t include your email address in your email signature. People can reply to your email or look at the “From” field to solve this little mystery. Save the space and leave it off.

5. Images.

Some people include images in their email signature. These can be a number of things. For example, you might include a company logo. You might include a headshot of yourself. You might just include a pretty image to add character to your email signature.

Strictly speaking, these images aren’t bad, but they can be annoying and look unprofessional in some cases. If you do include an image, make sure it’s small—both to take up less space on the page and to avoid bloating the size of your email. Additionally, make sure your image is as professional as possible—no goofy headshots or photos of you in a Halloween costume.

6. Quotes.

Occasionally, you’ll encounter people who include meaningful quotes as part of their email signature. Again, this is a mixed bag. Quotes can be fun. They can also reveal a lot about your personality, and set the tone for the conversation. But on the other hand, they can be a source of email signature bloat, and get in the way of your other information. Some people might also find these quotes tacky.

Use your best discretion here.

7. Send format information.

‘If you send an email from your iPhone, you’ll get a default message that says something like “Sent from my iPhone” as part of your email signature. This is a not-so-subtle clue that your readers should expect a typo or two, as it’s difficult to type a full email on a mobile device.

If you feel like giving yourself this pseudo protective layer all the time, you could simply build this statement (or something like it) into your email signature.

I’m in the camp that thinks you should always carefully proofread your emails, rather than making excuses for mistakes. So I personally don’t think it’s wise to try and use an outgoing message like this to make you more comfortable with errors. But you do you! No judgment here.

8. Jokes and quips.

Office jokesters sometimes slip in a quip or a joke into their email signature. It could be in the form of a quote, a send format message, or even in their basic personal information.

Whatever the case, there’s a place for humor in the professional world—as long as it’s an appropriate type of humor, and in moderation. Don’t make your entire email signature a joke, and you’re probably fine.

5 Email Signature Templates

Okay, read for some email signature examples? With the points listed above, let’s put together a perfect email signature. Check out the email signature templates below.

1. The basic information.

This email signature template is short and sweet; it has all the basics you need, with no extra fluff.

John Doe

Marketing Manager | Generic Company, Inc. genericcompanyinc.com

555-555-5555

2. A bit more flourish.

This template gives you room for more expansion, which is useful if you want to send people to your social channels. Feel free to replace linked statements with buttons; they’ll take up less space and improve the aesthetics.

John Doe

Marketing Manager | Generic Company, Inc. genericcompanyinc.com

555-555-5555 | Connect with me on LinkedIn! | Follow me on Twitter!

3. Introducing content.

If you’re interested in promoting a piece of content, this template is for you.

John Doe

Marketing Manager | Generic Company, Inc. genericcompanyinc.com

555-555-5555 | Connect with me on LinkedIn! | Follow me on Twitter!

Check out my latest article: How to Write the Perfect Email Signature in 10 Steps

4. The call to action (CTA).

This is one of my favorite email signature templates because it’s optimized around a call to action (CTA).

John Doe

Marketing Manager | Generic Company, Inc. genericcompanyinc.com

555-555-5555

Are you losing time to distractions every day? Check out a demo of our software, which can end your distractions once and for all.

5. A clever twist.

This type of signature is less professional and more casual, which could work for you, depending on your needs. You’ll probably want to swap out the joke and quote with something more in line with your personality.

John Doe

Marketing Manager | Generic Company, Inc. genericcompanyinc.com

555-555-5555

“I never made a mistake in my life. I thought I did once, but I was wrong.” -Charles M. Schulz

How to Change Signature in Gmail

Now that you have some good email signature templates, it’s time for the final step—how to change your email signature in Gmail.

It’s easy.

You can include up to 10,000 characters in your email signature, but God help you if you get anywhere close to this limit.

Start by opening Gmail, and click the gear icon to go to the Settings menu. Click “See all settings.”

There, you’ll find a “Signature” section. Clever name, right? Click “Create new” and come up with a name for your signature. Here, you can add whatever text, images, and other items you want.

gmail signature

When you’re happy with the way your signature looks, click “Save Changes.”

Make sure you test your signature by sending an email to yourself—make sure you haven’t made any mistakes, and that your signature is displaying as intended.

Note that you can create multiple email signatures, and toggle between them as you see fit. You could create one for if you’re in a good mood and one if you’re in a bad mood, but I advise against this.

Instead, consider setting a different signature for “new emails” and “on reply forward.” You’ll find these options under “Signature defaults,” a subsection of the Signature section in the Settings menu.

gmail signature 2

If you choose to do this, consider using a longer version of your signature for new emails, and a shorter version for replies and forwards; these people will likely be more familiar with you, and will need less information.

Ice Cream?

Okay, there’s no ice cream. But there’s something almost as sweet if you’re interested in improving your email efficiency.

So what do you say—now that you have some awesome email signature templates, examples, and best practices, are you interested in getting more value from your Gmail account?

Of course you are. If you’re like me, you’re on Gmail constantly.

So let’s make the most of it!

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I’ll shut up about it because the truth is, you won’t understand how powerful it is until you get your hands on it. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a free, 14-day trial today!